2-January-2008 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Pope Puts 2008 in Marian Focus

Vatican, Jan. 2, 2008 (CWNews.com) - In his first Wednesday audience of 2008, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to entrust the coming year to the Virgin Mary, "that she may guide our steps in this new period of time the Lord has given us to live."

Speaking to a crowd in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pope looked back to the previous day's celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of God. He reminded his audience that the title Theotokos was confirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431. In applying that title to Mary, he said, the Church fathers intended "to safeguard the full humanity of Jesus" in the face of widespread heresy. The same council affirmed that Jesus unites two natures, human and divine, in one Person. The Council of Ephesus, the Pope continued, was followed by a "veritable explosion of Marian devotion," marked by the construction of many churches dedicated to the Virgin, including the basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. Moreover, the Pontiff continued, "From the title 'Mother of God' we derive all the other titles by which the Church honors the Madonna."

Pope Benedict suggested that Christians should start out the new year by calling upon Mary's intercession, asking her to "help us to be true friends of her Son and courageous architects of his Kingdom in the world: a Kingdom of light and truth."



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